Why I Review Nigerian Gospel Music

I have been meaning to state my philosophy on reviewing Nigerian gospel music for a while now, and decided that this was the best time to do it.  I should probably have done this before I started actually reviewing the songs, but I wasn't ready then.  I still don't feel ready (LOL) but I think I am in a better position now than I was before.  A part of me feels like this is like campaigning AFTER the election, but it's better late than never, right? (You better be nodding). I should get to it, shouldn't I? Before I start though, I need to say that this is an open post, i.e. I will add to it as I learn more on this journey.  Yes, I am still learning, and I still have a lot to learn :-)

*Adjusts glasses and assumes serious demeanor*

LADIES:  If you wear makeup, have you ever tried applying makeup on your face in pitch darkness? #DontRaiseYourHand

GENTLEMEN:  Have you ever tried cutting your own hair (the one on your head) in the dark? With a comb and razor blade? #PleaseDontRaiseYourHandEither

BOTH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:  Have you ever dressed up in the dark?

Supplementing Nigerian Teachers' Salaries | Featured Artiste: Taye Ojei

It's no news that teachers in many countries are poorly paid, and Nigeria is no exception.  Considering that most children attend public or government-run schools, the focus of this post is actually on the public/government school system.

After school (primary and secondary), Nigerian students go for after-school lessons at a teacher's house or "lesson" or they have lesson teachers come and teach them at home.  You can call this private tutoring and it can be offered by different individuals ranging from teachers currently employed at schools to university students and even university graduates seeking employment.  For the teachers able to operate that extra "lesson"  that additional income is important to supplement whatever they make from their regular teaching jobs.  This seems to be an accepted method of supplementing teachers' salaries.  But what about buying and selling 'goods' to students?  Let me explain.

EVIL MEN (Part 2) | Featured Artiste: Marie

After Part 1, shebi na Part 2 remain? Don't worry.  Unlike Nollywood, there's no Part 3 or 4 to this saga (sheepish smile).  Just in case you didn't read Part 1, here it is.

Another point the movie, Evil Men, raised was Education, which is of course what I was interested in for reasons I shouldn't have to spell out.  Specifically, the question was whether or not to allow a dead man's sons go and learn a trade (i.e. become apprentices) OR send them to school.  [Side Note: If use the term 'Freedom' to refer to an apprentice finally completing his apprenticeship and gearing up to be his own oga, then what do we call an Alsatian dog breaking loose from its job of guarding a house to 'manage' its own 'business?' Strike out the possibility of a rabies infection.  Freedom too, or Rebellion? Okay, back to Planet Earth.  #OffOnATangent].

[Image Source]
The evil protagonist (antagonist?) wanted to the boys to learn a trade, citing financial reasons for not allowing them to further their education.  Of course, that was a lie, but it begs the question:  Quality of education aside, isn't it better to send kids to school rather than let them learn a trade, at least up to secondary school level? Or is money really a factor in keeping kids out of school? Of course money IS a factor, but .... Read on ...

EVIL MEN (Part 1) | Featured Artiste: Oyez!

[Image Credit]
Classic Nollywood movies have a knack for exposing deep social issues.  And I have a tendency to get very emotionally invested in these movies, for whatever reason :-(  Sometime in November last year, I re-watched 'Evil Men' starring Pete Edochie, Zach Orji, Liz Benson and Ramsey Noah.  The movie just rubbed me (and my 'co-watcher') the wrong way in the sense that while we were watching it, we just kept saying: "This is so true.  This is real life."  Without going into details of the movie, one of the issues the movie dealt with is the wickedness of men.  One of the characters went to the village and got poisoned, and if you think hard and long, you might know or at least have heard of REAL people this happened to.  I know I do.

Shorts v. Trousers | Featured Artiste: Modele

*Quick shout-out to AdeOla F of JostWrite for the wake-up call to update my blog.  And of course a major shout-out to all the followers, commenters and visitors for putting up with my haphazard updates recently.  I am working on being more consistent.  Please bear with me.*

I had secondary school students in mind for this post.  Sometimes, I think school uniforms were designed to torture students.  But, of course, that isn't true.  What I want to know is who came up with the bright idea of making junior boys wear shorts and senior boys wear trousers?  For girls, the junior girls tend to wear blouses and pinafores, while the senior girls wear skirts and blouses.

Picture from HERE
I get the idea of distinguishing between those in junior secondary school and those in senior secondary school.  And don't let me get started on the caps/berets.  For those boys who (God forbid)  end up repeating JS3 and can't yet cross over to SS1, the whole world will know because they will end up wearing shorts for another year (Some of them don't send o! They will go and borrow trousers and pose for that one year sha).  I guess we should be thankful that they don't make you wear uniforms in university too, otherwise all those people with carryovers would be 'easily discoverable.'

Jara | Featured Artiste: Solomon Lange

When I was younger (and even now, I still get asked the same question), people asked me what it felt like to be a twin (Hiss! Like I can really put words to it).  My answer is usually something like this: it is fun to have a "partner-in-crime,"  someone who shares the same interests and has gone through the same / similar challenges.  If you didn't know any better, you would probably think I was referring to a spouse, ba? LOL! Anyway, one of the things I miss about Nigeria is having mallams, market women (and men), etc give you extra of whatever you came to buy from them.  E.g. If I came to buy 3 apples, if they knew me and my sister were 'ejima' or 'ibeji' (a.k.a 'twins') they would give us 1 or 2 extra for free.  That extra is of course, commonly referred to as "Jara."

Fast forward a few years later to life here in America.  What can I say?  The concept of Jara is foreign to these foreigners ... LOL! But of course, you can see how it wouldn't work here.  I can't walk into Wal-Mart and expect them to give me an extra apple without paying for it.  That would be shop-lifting.  The thing though is before we even get to the concept of giving us extra, the question is: do they know we are twins (and frankly do they (you) give a ..... *cough, cough*)?  Assuming they give a hoot, would you believe that white people are usually clueless as to whether we are twins?  They just stare, stare and stare (we are NOT identical, by the way).  But astonishingly and with an amazing degree of accuracy, black people AND other ethnic minorities (e.g. Hispanics, Asians) just KNOW we are twins.  They don't even give room for any other possibility.  I just find this interesting every time it happens.

And now, a few lines from my childhood twin chronicles (Sorry, my tired brain couldn't figure out what else to call it).

Olodo Rabata | Featured Artiste(s): Stage One

Since I started out on that note, I might as well sing the song:

Olodo Rabata
Oju eja lo mo o je
O o ni je pepa
Sileti lo mo o je

[Picture from HERE]
Sorry to anyone who just had a flashback into a traumatic past because of this song, but there is a purpose to this.  So, please hang on.

A few years ago, I watched (and bought) a copy of a Nollywood movie called 'White Waters' featuring Rita Dominic and AMBO (Amstel Malta Box Office) Winner, at that time, OC (Okechukwu) Ukeje.  It was directed by the uber talented Izu Ojukwu.  

Apparently, there are some waterfalls in Nassarawa State called "Farin Ruwa" which literally means 'White Waters.'  Two points to note about the movie for the sake of this blog post:
  • I deliberately dubbed Melvin's (played by OC Ukeje) friend, a fish, with my own personal nickname: DELICIOUS [bursts out laughing]. I honestly did not plan to do two posts on fish back to back.  It just happened. Anyway, the fish was actually called "Loneliness" and later, "Mon Ami" (which of course means "My friend" in French).  I still prefer Delicious. 
  • [Spoiler Alert] Melvin repeated some classes in primary school and later dropped out of secondary school.  This is where the Olodo song comes in.

'Olodo' (in case you didn't know) is a derogatory Yoruba name which roughly translates to 'dunce' or 'dummy.'  The rabata part makes it worse because it means the person is a big, fat dunce.  If a child gets his schoolwork wrong either completely or partially or just gets a poor grade, his parents, teachers (and others who have no business being around kids in the first place) might refer to him as an "Olodo."  Ouch!